Monday, August 12, 2013

Man of Steel (movie review)

I think I'll skip making any critical remarks about the film as a film.  Thoroughly competent, nothing to complain about.  A confidant and comprehensive rendering of the myth.

More I'm just meditating on the whole matrix of filmdom.  Once you've lived to be my age, you've seen a lot of films and recognize the signature patterns.  You see the pattern language.

I want to highlight what I saw as an homage to Marco Spitoni's CodeGuardian, which I've shown often in Saturday Academy classes, as an example of what can be done with rendering and a small competent crew.  The appreciation for film making is there too.  The word "Guardian" is used even as a truck is thrown at an oncoming airplane by some robot -- or close enough.

Like the most recent Star Trek, Into the Darkness, allusions to 911 infuse the crashing building scenes.  We have these views etched in the collective psyche and here they surface.

Contemplating what it would be like to be contacted by another hominid, landing in space ships.  That's etched in the psyche from surface ships landings too.  One day, the Spanish ships were there in the bay, and life was never the same.  Or they came to Plymouth Rock.

Smallville is small town midwest North America, amidst fields and railroads.  Familiar brands fill in the mindscape:  IHOP and Sears.  What time are we in?  Vaguely before now.  There's no concerted attempt to make it the 1950s, but then we don't see cell phones.  The NORAD type place seems way ahead of it's time, as does the satellite.  No international space station.  There's a subtle nostalgia, but only because Superman Comics have that baked in.  They come from that place.

Spending a generous amount of time on Krypton is a good investment I think.  That's a fairly tough angle to take given we have to create a whole world.  Somehow an alien world has got to segue to the hokey uniform and somewhat embarrassing caped look, made fun of in The Incredibles.

A great dream in the chest of our child, caped crusader, jumping up and down in bed, slaying dragons.  We come from there.  Superman is an ego struggling to master being in a body, having senses.  I need to be a hero in the face of anxieties, one of the hardest ones being aging and dying parents, who also seem more like strangers.  The family argues in the truck.  Alien means alienated.  Dad is soon gone, mom more fragile.  We meet Lois in the cemetery, someone willing the share the grief.

My thanks to all the talented people who advanced us to a next iteration.  Good work.